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August 31, 2012

12 new wallpapers for Ubuntu 12.10

Ubuntu 12.10 Wallpapers
These are the 12 new wallpapers that have landed in Ubuntu 12.10 after the close of the community wallpaper contest. Whether these will be the wallpapers on final release day remains uncertain, but most likely will be included.

Anime Review: Cencoroll

Cencoroll is not your average mass-produced anime from well known companies. Rather it was a short film nearly singlehandedly written, designed, directed, and animated by manga author Atsuya Uki. What it differs from most anime is the simple illustrations, story telling, yet beautifully composed piece of art.

CencorollSynopsis:

When a gigantic, unearthly monster suddenly looms on the skyline of a Japanese city, the expected occurs—the Japan Self-Defense Forces roll out the tanks while the public panics. Nobody knows what it is or where it came from, but Yuki, a bold and inquisitive teenage girl, has a secret but might be a useful clue. Her friend Tetsu has been clandestinely caring for a bizarre creature called Cenco, which will soon prove itself to have some remarkable, even impossible characteristics. Another teenage boy, a stranger with some mysterious link to the monstrosity attacking the city, shows up, and his unwelcome interest in Tetsu's pet snuffs out any doubt of a connection—and lights the fuse for the coming battle.

Review:

The story is quite simply presented through visual elements and character interactions. At first, you may not understand what is going on, and you're not meant to; but then you slowly start to accept this interesting development of a story of what seems a city with bizarre creatures. Not much can be explained at what is happening in the anime except that we must use our imagination to make-up for the lost content. Simply put, the story is about random bizarre creatures suddenly appear in a city and a couple of teenagers are taking care of such creatures called Cenco. Another teenage boy comes along and tries to disrupt the peace and so Yuki and Tetsu must defeat him to protect the city from harm. It was a limited story, but in the end, the overall presentation just makes you wonder if this short film would be able to be turned into a fully fleshed-out anime series.

At first, I was unimpressed by the art. It felt rather washed out and bland. However, a few minutes in, I started to notice that the backgrounds were in-fact real still images from a city in Japan. Multiple filter and effects were applied to these still images to make them appear as if they were drawn. It was actually really well done and was pretty flawless. I was impressed how an anime can be based off still images from a real environment. The animation of the characters were really well done and blended in with the still images really well. The creatures definitely looked intriguing and were like white blobs that can shapeshift.

The voice acting was pretty bland and unemotional; but is expected from a low-budget short film project. Although it really didn't stand out to me that much, I must admire though the effort that was put in to actually produce some decent voices to the characters. Background music was pretty limited and there was no opening song. The ending song was "Love & Roll" by Supercell, so that was quite enjoyable to listen to.

Character-wise, the story didn't explain much about them. However, from their speech and locations, you could tell they were in their high school years. Yuki is what you can describe as a friendly and caring person whilst Tetsu is more reclusive and doesn't want to inconvenient anyone. Yet, despite their differences, Yuki and Tetsu manages to eventually get along with each other. There really is nothing else to explore of these characters as no further information is given. Everything you see is what you get.

I thought this one one terrible anime, until I read that it was a project by one man for a short film festival. That drastically changed my attitude towards Cencoroll. The imagery was quite effective, and the effort put into this short anime is quite commendable. I must say though, this is probably considered like "indie" games and songs. It's all hard work to produce something decent. In the end, I did not dislike it yet as much as I thought I would have. If you view this anime thinking that it was a huge effort to get it produced, you will come to appreciate watching the anime.

STORY: 5
The story was really simple, gets straight to the point, and does not expand further.

ART: 8
I must admire the use of real still images to portray an anime. Animation of characters and transitions was pretty good.

SOUND: 6
Voice acting was pretty bland and music was really limited.

CHARACTER: 6
Well, they all felt the same to me, from their interactions with each other. Very little character development.

ENJOYMENT: 7
So there was some fight scenes between the two guys and their pets. Apart from that, enjoy the scenery.

OVERALL: 7
Initially I gave this a lower rating, but after reading up on the development history, I decided to raise the rating a bit higher.

August 2012 Recap

Another month has ended quickly and over half the year has passed. So let's recap on what happened in the month of August.

2 August saw Temple Run hit the 100 million downloads mark after just a year of release.

Another milestone to take note of was Google Chrome's popularity rising to the top of the browser market share on August 7.

For all those Linux users that use Ubuntu Tweak, the software was updated to support Ubuntu 12.10. THis happened on 13 August.

15 August was an important date for My Bubbletea Time! We finally hit 10,000 hits to the website! Thank you for all your support!

Another important date was 16 August where the Humble Bundle for Android 3 was available for purchase! Although it didn't reach a world record, it was still widely popular.

21 August gave us a surprise that we never suspected. The announcement of a mysterious website and the hints of a The World Ends With You sequel. However, the game that was announced was the a sequel but rather an iOS remake, which left many fans disappointed.

Another announcement was made on 24 August in which Microsoft unveiled it's new logo for the company. There were mixed reactions to the new logo with many disapproving of it.

25 August was a devastating day where Apple managed to win its patent lawsuit case against Samsung. This brought much criticism and rage among Android fans and smartphone users worldwide.

So that pretty much covers August of 2012! It seems like there were plenty of eventful days from product announcements to terrible lawsuits. What will September bring?

August 30, 2012

Anime Review: Mayo Chiki!

Why is anime called Mayo Chiki!? I have no idea. I also have no idea why this anime has such a silly, silly, story with it. Along with the wide range of quirky and imaginative characters, this anime will surely entertain the otaku within you.

Mayo Chiki!Synopsis:

When you've got acute gynophobia, even a pretty girl can be a malady, and as the sparring partner for his family of female wrestlers, Sakamachi Kinjiro has the worst case EVER! Just one touch makes his nose bleed, so school's a bloody nightmare even before Kanade, the Principal's twisted daughter, deduces both Kinjiro's "feminine issue" AND that his name contains the sounds "Chi" and "Kin" back to back. But Chi-Kin's female troubles don't totally redline until a wrong turn in the men's room exposes the secret Subaru, Kanade's manservant, has been hiding in the water closet. (Well, to be fair, we should say Womanservant.) And if Subaru's cross reactions concerning her cross-dressing aren't enough of a drag, Kinjiro's girl problems also include a haunted martial artist (with ghosts); a cat-eared fetishist (meow!); AND his own sister, whose interest in "wrestling" a certain incorrectly packaged butler may result in an unexpected ending! And that's JUST the set up!

Review:

So what happens if you combine all anime fetishes into one? You get Mayo Chiki! of course. Whether you are a nosebleed, BL, ecchi, nekomimi, cross-dressing, megane, and/or imouto complex fan; it's all here! If you are not a total otaku, then you may not enjoy this anime as much as a real one would. Of course though, the story somehow makes sense and doesn't break apart completely with so many things happening at once. To start things off, we have a not-so-average guy called Sakamachi Kinjiro, which seems to like being tossed around by others and also has a nosebleed problem in which if a girl touches him he will instantly start to bleed. Right about now, you will probably be thinking "WTF", or in other cases "this is awesome!". You probably can guess how his life is going to turn out with the introduction of Kanade and Subaru after he accidentally discovers her secret. If you are not already interested in the story, you have no sense of humour. In the end though, the anime is actually not completely ecchi (most is all imaginative to the viewer) but rather more of a comedy romance with a slight twist. Of course though, it's totally clean with very little suggestive sections. There are also a few external anime references here and there for you to pick out if you watch closely. Other than that, the story was funny, silly, and completely unrealistic.

The World Ends with You director has unfinished business with the series


The World Ends with You: Solo Remix iPhone, thumbnail 1I stayed up pretty late waiting for the announcement from this mysterious website. Eventually I fell asleep and the next morning I was greeted with a big surprise. However, what a shock it was! Like me, a number of fans were left disappointed by the announcement that Square Enix's The World Ends with You (TWEWY) was being ported across to iOS rather than gaining a sequel. However it may come as some relief to hear that the game's director has more to reveal in the future.

In an interview with Japanese video game magazine Famitsu, Squeenix's Tatsuya Kando answered a few questions on the iOS version of TWEWY, subtitled Solo Remix, then left a mysterious message to the fans:

"Solo Remix is a game with such a high level of completion that you won't feel that it's a port. If you play it and post tweets to Twitter, the world will expand even further.

"We're working on a variety of other things, but first please enjoy Solo Remix."

It's anyone's guess as to what the "variety of other things" will actually be, but I am hoping for a sequel to the original The World Ends with You game! What about you?

August 29, 2012

Anime Review: Sacred Seven

Sacred Seven is your typical shounen high school action superpower anime with the main protagonist starting with with tremendous power. Whether this is your type of anime depends on how much you like the cliché moments.

Sacred SevenSynopsis:

Alma Tandoji lives a lonely life. One day, Ruri Alba, a girl accompanied by her butler and maids, visits him. Knowing the power of Sacred Seven is latent within Alma, she asks him to lend her his powers. However, he refuses and drives her away since he injured many with his unusual strength in the past.

Meanwhile, a fiendish Dark Stone creature suddenly appears in this peaceful town in the Kanto region. Only Alma's power of Sacred Seven can fight against it. But Alma just lets his power run amuck and things begin to get worse. Ruri raised her gemstone in order to release his true abilities, My Soul I give to you. 

With Ruri's wishes engraved in it, will Alma be able to defeat the Dark Stone?

Review:

Sacred Seven has received mainly mixed reviews from people who have watched it. Where it excels is the character designs and the enjoyment of the battles. Where it falls short is in story and character development. The story is really linear, straight-forward and easy to understand. Those who want something in-depth and deep, this is not the anime for you. Sure enough, there is the odd explanation as to what is happening and why people will turn into Dark Stones, but in the end, it doesn't really make a difference. The anime starts of with Alma, a socially exclusive boy that has tremendous power from the beginning. He then encounters Ruri, which unlocks his true form. After that, he is pretty much invincible with all seven sacred powers at his disposal. It may seem over-powered for a character like him; but the way his character developed is quite interesting indeed. Oh, and you have to be a cliché fan to actually enjoy this, or else you might think its a bit childish.

The art was actually quite spectacularly illustrated and animated. The characters all looked great and I particularly loved the battle maids (and their cute uniforms). The characters all looked lively and full of expression. The anime also featured plenty of battles and weapons to keep you occupied.

Voice acting was really well done for the characters being represented. I had no issues with the clarity or dialogue in the anime. Theme songs were your typical action/adventure type dramatic music which did entertain me for a few minutes before I skipped them. Background music was also pleasantly present throughout the anime.

Character-wise, the development was rather limited to the basics and main story. You will definitely get to know Alma and Ruri better, but as for everything else, nothing really is explained properly. For example, why are there battle maids? What happen to so and so? I felt that the length of the anime was slightly too short to fit everything in and I felt some time was wasted for some filler sections (such as a beach and school trip episode).

In the end, it was light-weight entertainment that will keep you occupied for a few hours. Don't expect much deep detail or solid story-telling. For me, I enjoyed it as I could. If you can handle some cheesy dialogue and cliché moments, you will enjoy this anime.

STORY: 6
Not the strongest story to tell and some bits were left out. A bit short in my opinion.

ART: 9
Spectacularly illustrated and animated. Characters all looked great and was full of emotion and expression.

SOUND: 8
Voice acting was perfect and theme songs were lively.

CHARACTER: 7
Some characters had limited development and others just felt it was put there as background characters.

ENJOYMENT: 7
The story could have been better in some ways such as plot twists and fights.

OVERALL: 7
I enjoyed it for its funny moments and cheesiness in some parts. Not really an anime to take seriously.

Rovio teases new games, involves Pig's side of story

Rovio Angry Birds new game

Do you still play Angry Birds? For me, I haven't even finished the original Angry Birds game, and since then I pretty much have given up trying to do so. With many iterations of the same formula, Rovio has released a couple of sequels to the original game, all with similar successes. Well it seems that we might soon be getting a look at the other side of the story, as Rovio has started to hint at a new Angry Birds game that focuses on the pig's story.

At the moment, details are scarce. For now, only Facebook and Twitter pages have been set-up for a game rumoured to be called "Bad Piggies". The pigs have issued a pretty clear statement on the issue though through their own press release, concluding with the ‘fact’ that birds stink and pigs are awesome.

Rovio Angry Birds new game

Now that Rovio has started dropping hints about the game, it’s only a matter of time before we start getting more concrete information about it. What do you think of the idea of a pig-focused Angry Birds game? As if we didn’t waste enough of our free time addicted to Angry Birds and its many spin-offs, now we get yet another unique Rovio game.

August 28, 2012

New Single: UVERworld - The Over

Another amazing and inspiring single by JRock band UVERworld gets released today!
The single titled The Over contains three tracks: 1) The Over, 2) The Song and 3) Massive.
Give these songs a try by downloading here.
Also, enjoy the PV for The Over below!

New Doctor Who to hit iView immediately after UK airing


The ABC has announced, via its official TV blog, that the first episode of the next season of Doctor Who — titled "Asylum of the Daleks" — will be available on its iView service from Sunday, 2 September at 5.10am AEST, immediately after it has aired on the BBC in the UK.

The ABC has previously shown Doctor Who on iView before it was broadcast on more traditional channels, but this is the first time that the iView content will be available so close to the original UK airing. "Asylum of the Daleks" won't air on ABC 1 until Saturday, 8 September at 7.30pm AEST.

According to ABC1 Controller Brendan Dahill, each new episode will be available on iView on Sundays "within hours of them premiering in the UK". According to Dahill, 48 per cent of Australians over 16 have accessed iView, while the most recent iOS iView app has been downloaded 434,000 times.

Whether the timeliness of the releases will mitigate iView's SD-quality video, or whether viewers will wait for the broadcast versions (or find alternative methods of viewing HD episodes) remains to be seen.

You can view the season seven trailer below:



[via CNET]

Google Chrome Wrench Icon to be Replaced

Google Chrome's "Wrench" icon will be replaced by a new icon in the next release.

The ‘Wrench’ icon is used to denote the settings menu and has been present in every release of Chrome since 2008.


If you’re on the bleeding edge of Chrome development (i.e. the dev channels) then you’ll already know this; the new icon has been in place for a few weeks.

But if you’re not then look out for Chrome 23.x. Here, in place of the familiar wrench icon, will sit a stack of three lines, referred to by Chrome developers as a ‘hotdog’.


August 27, 2012

MeMuMo: Twister

Title: Twister
Artist: Sawa
Year: 2007
Comments: This is the original song of "Twister", an awesome catchy opening tune to the widely popular Nintendo DS game, The World Ends With You. If you have't played the game, then you definitely must play it! If you have but you haven't listened to the OST then shame on you! The OST is pretty awesome and contains all those catchy beats from the game.

Featured Wallpaper: Anti-Skill

I thought I posted this wallpaper already, but it seems I haven't. If you know about and/or use my Anti-Skill Chrome theme then you will instantly recognise this wallpaper here. This wallpaper is based on the fictional security force of the same name that appears in the anime Toaru Majutsu no Index as well as it's child story, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun. The logo looked simple and clean, and it works well with a dark background.


Anime Review: Tokimeki Memorial: Only Love

If you really want a deep romantic comedy story that explores the inner feelings of the characters with some drama and tragedy thrown in then you are looking for wrong anime. Tokimeki Memorial: Only Love is more of a slice of life comedy with a touch of love rather than a fully fleshed-out romance anime.

Tokimeki Memorial: Only LoveSynopsis:

Aoba Riku has just transferred to a new high school because of his father's job, and things aren't quite what he expected. The headmaster's secretary controls the school while espousing the virtues of academic freedom, the teachers are even stranger than normal teachers, and half the student body is walking around with animal ears on. On his very first day, Riku is unfortunate enough to find himself at the center of the student council's latest event, which has him running for his life. All this on top of the normal high school rigour of popularity contests, crushes, and homework makes it unsure whether Riku will be able to survive this new school.

Review:

The anime starts of with a huge bang, but towards the end, all that is left are the fading lights of sizzles. I would say that the story although quite entertaining, really failed to capture the romantic part of the anime. Simply put, the story starts off with a guy named Aoba Riku whom transfers to a new high school. That is quite an awesome start to a love story right? But no, the anime decides to throw him right into the spotlight by making the school quite strange and random indeed. The teachers are all quite abnormal and a lot of students are wearing animal ears. To top it off, Aoba Riku is thrown into the student council's various events that ends up with him being chased around the school. Now with his life pretty much all in chaos, and three girls that start to like him, he is pretty much just running around the place with no direction whatsoever. I felt that the story lacked depth at a romantic level, and more of a slice of life comedy with a touch of love. The anime implies light ecchi and harem, but completely misleads the viewer by portraying a really simple love triangle.

The art was simply amazing, wonderful, bright and happy. I must really mention the character designs and art style in this anime for being one of the most captivating and smoothly animated of all anime. The girls all looked extremely cute in this anime and they were simply wonderful. Character design aside, the various scenes within the schoolgrounds were well designed.

Voice acting was quite well done and suited the characters really well. Although most girls in this anime sound so similar (with their high-pitched voices), there are some distinct differences between them in attitude styles and phrasing of dialogue. Theme songs were what you expect from a romcom, dating-sim style anime. Other than that, I have no complaints here.

Aoba Riku is somewhat of an airhead character that takes little consideration of other people's feeling. The anime does not go really in-depth in any of the characters from the anime so you are left in the dark most of the time. I felt that I couldn't fully understand a particular character's actions, feelings, and thoughts since the anime does very little to provide monologues of the characters. Usually though, its just more daily conversation that seems to head in no direction. The three main girls in this anime however, do have different personalities and situations that does make life interesting for Aoba Riku. However, these three girls somewhat tend to not really progress in their relationships with Riku and everything just seemed stagnant right towards the end. It felt like their personalties didn't really change and that they really didn't read the situation carefully when dealing with Riku.

Overall, I enjoyed the anime mainly because of the cute characters. Story-wise, I felt the romance a bit lacking and the comedy a bit dry after a while. There a few random moments the did try to make the audience laugh, but whether you will enjoy these moments will be determined how humorous you are. The art was simply wonderful and you will love the anime for its high detailed environments and cute characters.

STORY: 7
The story started out so interesting but then slowly diminished to a regular slice of life anime that drags on the romance till the very end.

ART: 9
Characters were cute and detailed. Nice art styles used throughout the anime.

SOUND: 8
Voice acting was particularly good for most of the characters. Theme songs were your regularly romcom type music.

CHARACTER: 8
There was limited character development for the main character and the three girls, but mostly though, it didn't really matter.

ENJOYMENT: 8
Some scenarios' outcomes felt odd and out-of-place. I enjoyed the characters and some bits were quite funny.

OVERALL: 7
Perhaps it is not your strongest romance story, but its silliness makes up for most of the enjoyment of the anime.

August 26, 2012

Japanese Tech Transforms 2D Anime Characters Into Animated 3D Ones



Check out this awesome video featuring 2D images of an anime girl transformed into a live 3D avatar! So how does this work in games?

To take advantage of modern 3D hardware acceleration, many two-dimensional games are actually rendered in 3D using an orthogonal camera and textured quads — flat rectangles with an image on top. Live2D, from Japanese company Cybernoids, takes this process a step further by allowing artists to use 2D images — say from anime — and transform them into 3D recreations.

Live2D is currently seeing most use in gaming, though the technology is at its strongest when not a great deal of movement is required. Cybernoids hopes to extend the tech to encompass more advanced motion within the next few years. I expect so much potential to come from this technology. Just imagine the possibilities this technology will bring!

[via Gizmodo]

Facebook Messenger update brings emoji and better photo sharing

Android Central

For those who use the Facebook Messenger app will know that it's actually a pretty good experience, which is a stark contrast from the main app. Today, Facebook continues to polish its Messenger service with a new update out in the Google Play Store. This latest update brings support for "emoji" -- those fun and sometimes bothersome looking smilies, better photo sharing straight from the app and a few UI cleanups. Tapping the plus sign on the left side of the text input box gives you a menu with common emoji used and gives options to choose a photo, take a photo or do an image search. Previously, the only way to share a photo was from another application via Android's built-in sharing system. Additionally, you can now link directly to the timeline of the person you're chatting with from the top of the chat window. All together, it's a nice little update that brings a lot of good functionality.

For someone who uses the Facebook Messenger app daily, these are welcome additions. If someone's on the fence and crazy for emoji, maybe this update will push them over to using the service.

August 25, 2012

Samsung loses in Apple trial, ordered to pay $1 billion in damages

Apple Wins Samsung Lost
In what will no doubt be a precedent for the tech industry, a jury has found Samsung infringed on Apple’s patents in the Apple and Samsung trial. 

A nine person Jury is still reading the verdict. So far, Samsung has been found in violation of 4 patents for most of the devices in question. Samsung has also been found guilty of willful infringement for most patents in question for most of the company’s devices, except for the Galaxy Tab. All of Apple’s patents were found valid as well, another big blow to Samsung. As far as damages, the jury has awarded Apple $1.051 billion for Samsung’s infringements. 

Samsung’s claims against Apple are all turning out to be found in Apple’s favor…

Source: bgr.com

Try Google’s New ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ Button



Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button was cool back in the day, but lately it hasn’t served much purpose; Google Instant has made it pretty much irrelevant. Now Google’s spicing the old trick up a bit with new adjectives.

If you head over to Google right now, and hover your cursor over the “I’m Feeling Lucky” bar, you’ll see it spin to a new adjective like “stellar” or “hungry”. When you click it then, it’ll take you to some random goodness about that particular thing, like pictures of a nebula, or a list of nearby restaurants.

It’s not like this is suddenly going to make the ancient button the premier way to search, but it’s a neat little gimmick, one that’s worth checking out.

[via Gizmodo]

August 24, 2012

Anime Review: Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl is definitely not your happy-go-lucky group of young girls anime. What this anime shows, is a true reality of the lives of these unfortunate girls who encounter problems a typical girl will not.

Gunslinger GirlSynopsis:

In the heart of Italy, the Social Welfare Agency rescues young girls from hospital beds and gives them a second chance at life using the latest in cybernetic advancements. With their artificially enhanced bodies, the girls are brainwashed and trained as assassins to carry out the dirty work of the Italian Government. Despite all the modifications, they are still just children at heart, struggling for recognition from those they love, even knowing the love they feel is manufactured. This tragic tale unfolds as these girls grapple with their emotions in an agency that treats them as nothing but ruthless killers.

Review:

If you have watched Strike Witches or Hidan no Aria, you can consider Gunslinger Girl to be similar in some ways, but not in others. True enough that they all have one thing in common: that is, the use of girls with guns. However, what makes this anime so much different that the other two, is that is context is rather gloomy and dull. There is no comedy or any comic relief and you rarely get to see the characters smile. This is a dreaded reality of the story that Gunslinger Girl is trying to invoke. Whether this anime is supposed to question our morality and opinion of the exploitation of these poor girls really depends on how you view the anime. For me, even though the story was quite linear and lack any direction, I felt that there was still some potential for further development in story and characters for the sequel. Mostly though, the episodes consists of either some flashback background story of one of the characters, a assassination of some anti-government rebel or a bunch of guys talking about the morality and values of using such 'cyborgs' in combat. The story lacked some excitement really, but somehow along the way you actually start to care about the poor girls which in turn makes you want to finish the story to see what happens.

Art was rather well done and suited the locations shown through the anime quite closely. You can slightly tell the anime is set in some European country by the various settings, people and objects around the place. I must applaud the character design for portraying the characters more European than Japanese. I must accept the lack of facial expressions these girls have since I can understand what happened to them and what they have to go through each day.

Sound quality was pretty average. The girl's voice acting was pretty mediocre as well as expected from this anime. Somehow, this anime wants to make the situation as dreary as possible for it to effectively present the story to the audience. In some ways it was effective, in others it was not. Some short sequences lacked any sound at all and I thought my speakers died! Sound effects were rather limited and there was very little background music at all. In a way, this may have impacted viewing experience in a negative sense.

The characters were the stronger points this anime had to offer. Of course though, there isn't one single main character in this series, but rather a whole group. As a result, some episodes explained thoroughly the background information about these characters which was informative indeed. I really didn't mind these flashbacks and retellings as they always linked back to the current situation. In the end, the even though the characters did have sufficient background information revealed, I found any lack of appealing quality among them. Perhaps the lack of social interaction and outward display of emotions hindered the enjoyment of watching these characters associate with one another.

In the end, Gunslinger Girl did manage to pull through as an interesting anime to watch. The story was pretty mediocre and lack any direction. The art was well done and there was some nice moments here and there. Sound quality was average and the theme songs were pretty bland as well. Somehow you get used to all this gloominess and you push on towards the end. This is one pretty serious anime to watch so don't expect any comedy or comic relief moments.

STORY: 5
Dull and slightly boring as it may seem. I had plenty of delays whilst watching through this series.

ART: 7
Well done and had a unique style to it. Characters looked great and backgrounds were wonderfully illustrated.

SOUND: 6
Voice acting was average and theme songs were rather bland to listen to. Lack of sound in some sequences was disappointing.

CHARACTER: 7
Plenty of character development that linked in well with the main story. The characters were pretty boring though.

ENJOYMENT: 6
Did I enjoy it? Here and there. The action was pretty decent and some story points were well directed. However, I must say that this type of anime is not really my style.

OVERALL: 6
If you are into these type of slice of life anime, then Gunslinger Girl may interest you. This anime is definitely not for everyone to watch for enjoyment.

After 25 years, Microsoft unveils new logo

Microsoft has just unveiled a new look and feel to its corporate logo. Following 25 years from its former iteration, this is the first major Microsoft logo change in the company's history. The new logo includes a multicolored symbol that's typically found on the company's Windows products — the first time the wordmark has been accompanied by an image.

Microsoft is preparing to launch a range of products this holiday season, including its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems and a new Surface tablet. The software giant's new logo reflects a change in the company's branding that has been triggered by the new look Windows 8 interface and branding. Microsoft's Office team has also adopted a similar interface and style, and Windows Phone 8 completes the trio of products for Microsoft's major rebrand this fall.



[via The Verge]

August 23, 2012

Yet another reason to leave Facebook?

Facebook purges Cosplayers’ accounts, gamers likely to be targeted next

If you’re a cosplayer who goes under an alias on your Facebook profile, it might be a good idea to go to your Account Settings – right now – and click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data”.Also, try to avoid common words in your username.  It might potentially save you from a lot of trouble and heartache. 
Several cosplayers found themselves in for a rude shock when they accessed the popular social network service Facebook earlier this week, only to discover that their user accounts – along with years of accumulated personal data including photos, videos, and hundreds if not thousands of contacts – had been deleted.
According to news site Examiner.com, their accounts were deleted due to a mass purge Facebook performed on Monday that targeted usernames containing the word “cosplay“, in an attempt to clamp down on “duplicate” or “fake” accounts that go by an alias rather than the users’ real names.
These “duplicate accounts” were said to comprise approximately 8.7 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users.
When the social network revealed this 8.7 percent figure in a regulatory filing made earlier in August, the information did not sit well with investors and caused a dip in the publicly traded company’s stock price. This might have been the prompt for the mass account purge on Monday, in an attempt to dwindle the figures and restore investor confidence.
It is unclear, however, why Facebook has chosen to target specifically user accounts with the word “cosplay” in it.
Oddly enough, it would seem that users who had the word “cos” – a term that many Japanese cosplayers include in their cos names – were not affected at all.
It could very well be that the term “Cosplay” is simply the most frequent term employed in Facebook usernames (possibly the sole silver lining to this gloomy story: “cosplay” could be the most popular term included in Facebook usernames).
Examiner.com postulates that other common terms found in user account like “photography”, “gamer”, and “sports”, are likely to be targeted next.
Our hearts go out to cosplayers affected by Facebook’s thoughtless, extremist measure.

4 Extra Games Added to Latest Humble Bundle

Four extra titles have been added the the latest Humble Bundle.

Although none of the titles are 'new', they have been included in the first Humble Bundle for Android a while back. If you didn't buy the first Humble Bundle and missed out on the awesome games, now is your chance to get it now!

The additional games are:
  • Osmos
  • World of Goo
  • EDGE
  • Anomaly
The games are cross-platform compatible and are DRM-free.

If you bought the Humble Bundle for Android #3 and paid more than the average price (at the time of your purchase) then all of these games are yours for free.


August 22, 2012

Anime Review: Shangri-La

Shangri-La is what you can describe as a futuristic anime set in a time period where the Earth is on the brink of destruction and sea levels have risen dramatically due to global warming. This is a dramatic action and sci-fi anime that intriguing right from the start.

Shangri-LaSynopsis:

In the distant future, earthquakes and the effects of global warming have splintered Japanese society. Some struggle hand-to-mouth in the jungle-tangled ruins of civilization. Some live comfortably within the closed-off city of Atlas. Others lurk online, anonymously hacking the global economy. As nature grows more violent and the divide between classes expands, one spirited girl – Kuniko – must face her destiny and lead her people into the utopia of Atlas. The city's ruthless government isn't going to welcome them with open arms, but Kuniko won't give up until the gates of Atlas are kicked open for good – even if it means discovering that the promised land she dreamed of is built upon a foundation of twisted secrets and lies. 

Review:

Imagine Earth after global warming has dramatically affected the living environments of people and the once busting cities are now covered in urban decay and forests. This is the story of the people who still live on the ground, living in fear and desolation, within the shadow of the great sky city, Atlas. As the impending danger of the forest as it spreads, Kuniko is determined to lead her people into what seemed to be the utopia of Atlas. With her friends by her side, they are determined to break through into the city, against the corrupt government that oversees the city as well as accidentally discovering the twisted secrets and lies that the city is founded upon. At first, the anime presents itself rather slowly, and you will encounter plenty of "WTF" moments; not to mention the transsexuals that are just randomly in the story for no apparent reason. After a while as the story progresses, you will uncover more truths and links between the characters and what Atlas actually is. The story somewhat can get slightly confusing at some points, but all is explained later on as you watch on.

The art was really well done and the environments all look so highly detailed as if you are actually there. The greenery, forests, and decay is clearly seen from the way the art was illustrated. It was wonderful and impressive. The anime was fluid and well animated. The characters all looked great and spectacular from their clothes to their facial expressions. I loved the action, special effects and especially that boomerang weapon! I loved that boomerang weapon! Is awesome.

Voice acting was quite good for most characters. I am unsure how to describe the way the transsexuals talk in this anime, but frankly, it is not as disturbing as you might have thought. Otherwise, the other characters were portrayed pretty accurately from their character expressions and dialogue. Theme songs were quite catchy to listen to and I found myself relistening to them again and again. There were plenty of background music to subconsciously listen to and there were plenty of accurate sound effects to support various scenes throughout the anime.

Overall, the story took a bit of time to digest, and the anime doesn't rush giving you every detail there is to give. Most of the time, you would be guessing to as what is happening on screen and who are those people doing there. Of course, if you watch this anime closely, you can start to create mental links between characters and try to discovers their motives and thoughts. There are plenty of interesting characters here and there, and the art was simply expressive. In the end, if you like watching an anime featuring a kick-ass girl, then Shangri-La will probably satisfy your hunger.

STORY: 7
The story slowly reveals itself whilst giving us the action we need.

ART: 9
Simply wonderfully illustrated and smoothly animated.

SOUND: 8
Voice acting was quite good and theme songs were catchy to listen to.

CHARACTER: 8
The characters are quite mysterious and you only find out more about them as you watch through the series.

ENJOYMENT: 8
A kick-ass girl that leads a rebel group to take over a huge city? Awesome. There's plenty of action and adventure to keep you occupied.

OVERALL: 8
It was a great anime to watch. I loved how it was set in a believable future where global warming has damaged most of the Earth and how humans have to survive in this environment.

August 21, 2012

Featured Wallpaper: Skyscapes

So I was trying to find a nice bright theme for my desktop or for my Gmail when I came across this beauty. Somehow this basic wallpaper with blue sky, white clouds and sun rays seemed to calm my mind. So, if you feel like changing our desktop wallpaper into something soothing, this is probably a great option for you!


'The World Ends With You' sequel? Yes please!

Remember that awesome DS game back in 2007 that everyone was talking about? Yes, it was The World Ends With You by the world-famous Square Enix. The game featured an interesting gameplay mechanic that was never seen before on a portable console. Taking advantage of the Nintendo DS's two screens, the gameplay involved the player mashing buttons for the top screen as well as swiping crazily on the bottom all whilst managing health, attack, and evasion of the two characters on both screens respectively. It was a crazy, all-out game that just made you look cool whilst playing.

No one expected a sequel to appear. However, in the light of Nintendo's latest release of Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the game featured many of our beloved characters from TWEWY. Thus, with this taste of wonderfulness, rumours began to arise as to whether such a sequel would be made.


A if on cue, Square Enix abruptly activated what seems to be a teaser website for a unsuspectingly TWEWY sequel. The game isn't explicitly name checked but everything about the teaser site points towards 2007's acclaimed action RPG, from the font used for the countdown clock, to the music and the silhouetted cityscape of Shibuya. At the bottom of the page, it even says the character design by Tetsuya Nomura and Gen Kobayashi – the two artists who worked on the original title, as well as Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy franchises.

What does this tell you?

A TWEWY sequel will be coming soon? Hopefully so. Until that day comes, we have to wait eagerly for the countdown timer to reach 0.


[via IGN]

August 20, 2012

Google Play enables smart app updates, conserving batteries

Google has enabled a Google Play feature that promises to save Android app users time and bandwidth.

The web giant is now offering the ability for app users to download delta updates from its Google Play, the folks over at Android Police have discovered.

Previously, an updated app meant downloading it again in full, which could put a strain on a device's battery if the app was large and the connection slow. The new smart downloads allows users to avoid downloading the app and send only the incremental difference between the old and new versions, thereby saving data for the app user and Google.


[via CNET]

PSotD - Make My Day!

Title: Make My Day!
Artist: Piko
Year: 2012
Notes: Another freakin' awesome song from Piko!
This is the opening song to the anime Binbougami ga! I highly recommend this comedy anime. 

DDL: Full single here

August 19, 2012

MeMuMo: Love is War

This is the first post of many of my new '3M' series. Officially, it is actually called "MegaBubbletea's Music Moment" but that is kinda too long to include in the title, so I've shortened it to '3M'. Enjoy the music and if you have any comments leave them below!
EDIT: '3M' sounds too boring. So 'MeMuMo' it is!

Title: Love is War (恋は戦争)
Artist: Ryo (supercell)
Year: 2009
Comments: This is probably the first Vocaloid song I have heard in my life. I was instantly in love with the song and with the unique and intriguing mechanical sounds that Vocaloids make. It took some time to get used to, but now I'm an avid fan of Vocaloid!

Teaser trailer for Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks

Check out the new teaser trailer for the first episode of Doctor Who Series 7.

Synopsis:

Kidnapped by his oldest foe, the Doctor is forced on an impossible mission - to a place even the Daleks are too terrified to enter... the Asylum. A planetary prison confining the most terrifying and insane of their kind, the Doctor and the Ponds must find an escape route. But with Amy and Rory's relationship in meltdown, and an army of mad Daleks closing in, it is up to the Doctor to save their lives, as well as the Pond's marriage.

Anime Review: Elemental Gelade

Elemental Gelade can be considered as your typical mainstream adventure, fantasy, and comedy anime aimed at younger teens. From its presentation to dialogue, it all screams "for young teens".

Elemental GeladeSynopsis:

After a routine raid, the rookie sky pirate Coud finds a most unusual cargo in his mates' cargo hold: Ren, an "Edel Reid", a race prized by humans for granting special combat power to their partners through "Reacting". He quickly discovers, however, that Ren is even more prized than he expected. The pirate ship is visited by three members of the Edel Reid Complete Protection Agency "Arc Aire", who try to purchase her. When Coud refuses, the ship is suddenly attacked by a mysterious force, and Coud's captain charges him with Ren's protection.

Review:

Elemental Gelade is no way serious, or combat heavy to be described as for older viewers. This is evident by the linear storyline, pretty childish and basic dialogue, character presentations, and art style. The anime is basically about a rookie sky pirate named Coud who accidentally stumbles across Ren, an "Edel Reid", which is another race that grants special powers to their contracted partners. As you would expect, much controversy happens about the morality of using such "Edel Reids" in combat and whether they are just tools or humans. Ren, which is guided by a voice in her dreams, is determined to head to the Garden of Edel, where everything begins. Along the way, Coud and a few other friends team up to protect her from harm from many different directions. In a way, the story is rather linear, sometimes predictable, but slightly exciting to watch. Nearly every episode feature some action and some comedy with quite a few episodes ending with a cliffhanger.

For an anime that was released quite a few years back, the art was pretty average. I watched it in standard definition, so there was some blurring of textures in video. However, I noticed though that most sceneries and backgrounds were pretty plain and somewhat lacking in fine detail. The characters looked decent though with their various clothes they wear, and the Elemental Gelades all were unique respectively. I would note that although the battle animations were quite good, some lacked smoothness and presentation as if those scenes were rushed. I also found that whenever the characters were chanting their song, their mouths would just stay open in one position; which annoyed me quite a bit.

Voice acting was pretty good and suited most characters pretty well. The main cast was well presented but some minor characters' voices felt out of place. Theme songs was your typical adventure fantasy style songs and appropriately applied to the anime. There was a lot of background music to accompany the many different scenes throughout the anime and most of them were suitable to the situation at hand.

Character-wise, they were rather dull and boring overall. I must admit though, some scenes were really well done and the character were full of emotions. Other scenes, you couldn't tell what the characters were thinking or what was with their reactions. Coud was rather boring to watch. I must admire his bravery and strong will, but in the end, I couldn't really grasp his reason why he was protecting Rena and why he loved her. Also, a lot of minor characters weren't really properly explained as so you are left in the dark as to why are they there in the first place and what is their role within the anime. In the end, I felt little connection with any of the characters.

In the end, this anime was a hit and miss. The storyline was linear and quite predictable, the characters weren't that memorable, and the art was pretty average. On the positive side, the anime wastes no time is giving us the adventure and action at every turn. The constant battles and cliffhangers at the end of most episodes was a welcome addition to captivate the audience into watching more. Elemental Gelade is definitely your typical shounen adventure fantasy aimed at younger teens with wild imaginations.

STORY: 6
Pretty linear and predictable although some parts was quite exciting to watch and most episodes ended with a cliffhanger.

ART: 5
Pretty average and low quality in some sections. Overall, it was fine to watch.

SOUND: 7
Voice acting was decent and theme songs were acceptable.

CHARACTER: 7
There was a wide range of characters but the anime does not go into much detail about them.

ENJOYMENT: 7
The adventure and story was fun to follow and the cliffhangers kept me watching more. The fights were well illustrated and animated.

OVERALL: 6
Despite the nice action and entertaining moments that this anime has, overall, it felt a bit floppy and lacked substantial substance to make it great. If you have some spare time, then give this a go.

August 18, 2012

Gameloft's new Order & Chaos spin-off will be lane defense

Android Central

Gameloft has been teasing a spin-off of their World of Warcraft clone for Android, Order & Chaos, for a few weeks now, and today took off the the wraps. It turns out Heroes of Order & Chaos will be a lane defense game (or MOBA), similar to Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends, and others in that sphere.

For those unfamiliar, you pick one of many flavorful, unique heroes, and use them to defend your headquarters against waves of mindless drones coming to do destroy your towers through three seperate lanes of attack. Not only do players have to defend, but they have to push into the opposing team's area and take out their base in order to win. 6 free heroes will be available on a shifting rotation, though you'll be able to pay through in-app purchases for permanent access. 

I'm just starting to get into Dota 2, and am finding the gameplay really great; it's actually pretty surprising that we haven't seen more games like it on Android yet, and I'm pretty confident Gameloft will do a good job with adapting the experience for mobile. Any LoL or Dota fans out there? Would you be willing to weather a gauntlet of microtransactions to play it on Android? At least you're already used to it from PC, right? We can expect Heroes of Order & Chaos to hit Google Play on October 11.

August 17, 2012

Chrome Theme: Visual Miku


I'm glad to announce that another Chrome theme has been made by me for everyone to use! This time, with the request from pumkin_so77, I have made my first Miku theme! Check out the screenshots below as well as links to the Chrome Web Store. There are two versions since the background image wasn't really made to be scalable. Enjoy anyway!


Google Play gift cards - they are real!

Google Play Gift Cards

It seems like Google has finally listened to the community and have decided to launch a gift card service for their Play Store. The cards come in $10 and $25 gift cards, clearly branded for Google Play, with "Music Movies Books Apps & More" listed at the bottom.

It'll be interesting to see how they get positioned at retail alongside the likes of iTunes and Barnes & Noble and tons of other other gift cards, but this much is certain -- that triangular logo we were never too sure about should stand out pretty well.

Also unknown is where, exactly, the cards will be available. Right now, it seems that it will only be available in the U.S. According to Android Central, that means individual stores such as Best Buy, Target and/or Wallmart? Developers hate seeing U.S.-only launches and most people would agree.

In short, gift cards are coming, and it looks like they're coming sooner rather than later.

ONE OK ROCK releases PV for "The Beginning"

On Tuesday, JRock band ONE OK ROCK released the full official PV on their YouTube channel for the new single "The Beginning". This single is the theme song for the movie Ruroushin Kenshin.


August 16, 2012

PSotD - Gangnam Style

Title: GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일)
Artist: Psy
Year: 2012
Notes: The latest craze from Korea. 
Are you gangnam styling to this awesome beat? Don't know how? Here's 4 easy steps to get you gangnam styling.

DDL: 

Ubuntu One referral scheme grants you extra 20GB of space

Like DropBox, Ubuntu One now feature a referral program where you are granted an extra 500MB of storage space for every person you recommend to their service. That is an extra 500MB for you, and an extra 500MB for the signee.

The challenging part is to actually find 40 people who haven't used Ubuntu One before for you to completely acquire 20GB of space.

If you are already using Ubuntu One, you can find you unique referral link in your Ubuntu One web dashboard.

Google+ update brings Hangout improvements

googleplus-big

Google+ for Android just keeps getting better and better. This most recent update brings improvements to angouts, allowing younger users to initiate them and all users to watch hangouts on air. Most notable when you first open the newly update app, you will see a grey bar at the top of the window with sharing options. This is a welcome addition that saves you that one extra tap when you want to share a post.

In addition, the new version has floating timestamps in photo view. For those of you getting frustrated with spam in the new "events" feature, the ability to report abuse straight from the app has been added as well. Check out some screenshots below or if you are ready, update the app from the Play Store.

Android Central

Android Central

SwiftKey 3 update includes new themes, languages and more



SeiftKey, one of the best Android replacement keyboards has released another update for us today. ne of the most notable changes is the inclusion of two new visual styles, Sky (blue) and Fuchsia (pink), which the SwiftKey team is calling summer themes.

In addition to these visual changes, they have also added the ability to long press the comma key in order to launch dictation, for those who like to tap and talk. This update will also include support for Malay and Urdu, bringing the language count up to 44, which is pretty huge. Beyond these changes they have fixed a slew of bugs, made the experience better while using SwiftKey in Chrome, Google Talk, and many other applications.

If you haven't got SwiftKey, you should do it now! For everyone else, update it right now in the Play Store.

Introducing the Humble Bundle for Android 3



The Humble Bundle is back offering more games for all platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android! The Humble Bundle for Android 3 contains four games and you can pay what you want to get BIT.TRIP BEAT, Fieldrunners, SpaceChem, and Uplink! If you pay over the average price, you will also receive the beautiful platform puzzler, Spirit for free!

All the games are DRM-free, and you can redeem them on Steam as well. You can also donate a portion of your purchase to vital non-profits: the Child’s Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


August 15, 2012

Awesome hi-res images of the new Doctor Who series

The new series of Doctor Who is fast approaching and we already have had a glimpse of what is to come. The official Doctor Who site has teased us with some sparkling hi-res images from the new series to come.


Anime Review: Pandora Hearts

Pandora Hearts takes an interesting take on the commonly known story of Alice in Wonderland. Whilst the technical details are quite similar, the story and characters are completely not what you expected. The anime explores the dark and mysterious details of Alice in Wonderland that not many people know of.

Pandora Hearts Synopsis:

Oz Vessalius, heir to one of the duke houses, has just turned fifteen. His life is rich and carefree, darkened only by the constant absence of his father. At his coming-of-age ceremony, however, everything changes. For no reason that he can discern, he's cast into the prison known as the "Abyss", only to be saved by a "chain" known as Alice, the bloodstained black rabbit. It is unknown why was he cast into Abyss, how does Alice factor into it all, and what does the organization known as "Pandora" want with him.

Review:

WARNING!!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Hitting the 10K

I know its a bit late since I haven't been home all day, but I would like to say congratulations to the My Bubbletea Time website for achieving the 10,000 hits milestone! The website has been live for over 6 months now and it's popularity has been slowly increasing. Each day we get around 40 - 60 hits. So what's our plans for the future?

Well for one, I may be giving the blog a small makeover just to change some minor details. The existing background image will be removed and a solid pale blue background will replace it. This will make the blog look more cleaner and nicer to look at. Also, the current position of the logo feels a bit lonely, so I have decided to maybe add an awesome catchy banner to the top of the page. Finally, the blog layout will be changed slightly. Instead of having rounded-tabs on top for the menu, the blog will have a bar with links instead. This way, the banner and the menu will complement each other. The blog will also feature some minor changes to suit the new theme.

In addition to the mechanical side of things, the team will also be introducing a couple of new regular posts to the blog. You may have noticed already my "Featured Wallpaper" posts. These are basically wallpapers which I find interesting or nice to be able to freely share to the public. In addition, I will also be launching my "MegaBubbletea's Music Moment" post that is similar structured to pumpkin_so77's "Pumpkin's Song of the Day" posts but will feature music from different languages and genres. Lastly, we will be providing more interesting Android news, game reviews, and interesting stuff than ever before.

If you have any suggestions of improvement or have something to say, please tell us using the "Feedback" page provided on the main menu. So, what is our next goal? Definitely getting 20,000 hits! Next time, we will have a proper celebration since we were all too busy this time around. As for now, enjoy this wallpaper!


Signing off,
MegaBubbletea =^.^=

Congratulations on reaching 10K hits!


Hello everyone!
The staff of this blog would like to thank everyone for your constant support. It is with your help that we have reached a great milestone of 10K hits!


Let me dedicate a song to say thank you to all you lovely stalkers readers!
It's called Thank you!! by Home Made Kazoku.


So without further ado, let us commence our party - Otaku style!

August 14, 2012

Wireless charging technology coming in 2013


Intel could include wireless charging technology in select ultrabooks and smartphones beginning in the second half of 2013, according to a report from Digitimes.

It will use an ultrabook as the power source paired with related software and a transmitter to wirelessly charge a smartphone.

Samsung is also expected to launch a resonance wireless smartphone charger by 2013.

The report did not specify whether the charging will use the newer resonant inductive coupling system for longer range and higher efficiency, but it did say the phone did not have to be in a specific location, which suggests that the longer-range version will be used.

[via KurzweilAI]

August 13, 2012

Ubuntu Tweak 0.7.3 adds support for Ubuntu 12.10 and Linux Mint 13


Ubuntu Tweak is a tool that lets you configure various aspects of the Ubuntu / Linux Mint desktop: change the GTK / icon theme, Unity settings, LightDM settings, clean up application cache, it comes with an Unity quicklist editor, a PPA source center and more.

Ubuntu Tweak 0.7.3 has been released today, adding support for Linux Mint 13. The new version also comes with support for Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal, but since Quantal is still in alpha, the application can't be considered stable.

Besides Linux Mint 13 and Ubuntu 12.10 support, the latest Ubuntu Tweak 0.7.3 also adds a new feature: the ability to turn Guest account on/off. And of course, there are many bug fixes to the Quicklist Editor, Screen Edge actions and more.

The complete changelog can be found here.

To install Ubuntu Tweak:

  • Open Terminal and enter the following commands:
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tualatrix/ppa
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak